The French parliament held a heated debate on whether Turkey should be allowed to join the European Union.
However the French government decided before the debate there would be no vote by Mps knowing Turkish membership would be rejected right now. The Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin told Parliament Turkey is still a long way from Europe in terms of social, economic and political policy. He stressed neither the EU or Ankara was ready for Turkish membership. However the Socialists are behind Turkish membership claiming it will benefit everyone in the long run. Their parliamentary leader Jean-Marc Ayrault said EU was the best example that exists of integration, peace and a civilised society when political leaders are prepared to put their weight behind it. Even within the large Turkish community that lives in France there are splits on their country’s eventual membership of the EU. This Turkish restaurant owner in Paris says a more equal, more democratic open society is needed: Turkey needs to become a country of human rights. A Turkish businessman who imports textiles had a more philosophical answer:He said Turkey was a like a rough diamond it just needs to be polished and cut into shape by the EU. There are around 400,000 Turks living in France